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What Happens To Teeth Under Veneers: Learn the Long-Term Effects

Dentist in blue gloves installing veneers on a female patient's lower teeth.

Veneers have become a popular choice for many looking to enhance their smiles. They offer a durable cosmetic fix for a variety of dental issues, from staining to misalignment. However, the long-term effects of veneers on the natural teeth are often overlooked. This post will explore what happens to teeth under veneers and the long-term effects you can expect.

Key Takeaway: 

Veneers offer numerous cosmetic benefits, but they do involve removing a small amount of enamel and can have some effects on the underlying teeth. Understanding the long-term effects of veneers on teeth is crucial for making informed decisions about dental care and maintaining good oral health.

Benefits Of Veneers

Veneers are thin coverings, custom-made shells attached to the front surface of your teeth. Think of them like fancy nail tips for your teeth! They come in high-quality materials or types such as composite veneers, ceramic, or porcelain veneers and are used to improve the look of your smile by hiding chips, cracks, discolouration, or gaps.

Close-up view of dental veneer on a yellow stick with adhesive on a dark background.

Before we dissect the effects on underlying teeth, weighing the benefits is crucial. Veneers can be life-changing for those with insecurities about their teeth and with a goal of smile makeovers. They offer more than a mere cosmetic upgrade.

  • Improve Smile Aesthetics: The most apparent benefit is the dramatic improvement they can bring to your smile. Veneers are custom-made to fit your teeth’ size, shape, length, and colour, providing a bright, natural-looking smile that can boost your self-confidence.
  • Repair Chipped/Cracked Teeth: Veneers offer a solution for repairing minor chips and cracks, restoring both aesthetics and functionality.
  • Correct Discoloured Teeth: Veneers are highly resistant to stains. They can mask tooth discolouration caused by staining foods, drinks, and tobacco, resulting in a brighter, whiter smile.
  • Strengthen and Protect Teeth: Veneers can act as a protective shield for teeth with minor damage, lessening the impact of day-to-day wear and tear on your natural tooth enamel and overall structure.

These benefits make veneers an attractive option for many patients, combining both cosmetic appeal and protective qualities.

Long-Term Effects Of Veneers On Teeth

Placing veneers involves some changes to the underlying teeth. Here’s a closer look at the long-term effects:

1. Tooth Enamel Removal

In the tooth preparation process, a crucial step involves shaving a thin layer of enamel from the front tooth surface to make room for the veneer. This procedure is essential for ensuring proper bonding of the veneer.

While this is vital for the bonding of the veneer, it is important to note that once enamel is removed, it does not regenerate. Therefore, a significant drawback of veneers is their irreversible nature, as enamel does not grow back once it has been removed.

The enamel on your teeth protects against potential tooth decay and maintains tooth strength. Without a proper assessment by a dentist, enamel removal could lead to a weakened tooth structure.

FAQ: What do teeth look like under veneers?

Since veneers are designed to completely cover the tooth’s surface, you wouldn’t be able to see the original tooth underneath in everyday situations.

However, if a veneer were to be removed by a dentist, the underlying tooth would likely look: 

  • Slightly smaller: As mentioned, a very thin layer of enamel is typically removed during veneer placement to accommodate the newly shaped veneer.
  • Rougher: Enamel is naturally smooth, while the underlying dentin layer (exposed after enamel removal) has a slightly rougher texture.

2. Potential Tooth Sensitivity

Crop view of woman with teeth sensitivity against light background.

Following veneer placement, you may experience some tooth sensitivity. This occurs because the dentin layer, located beneath the enamel, becomes exposed.

This sensitivity is usually temporary. For some, it can last a few days, while for others, it may be a few weeks.

To manage sensitivity, your dentist might recommend special toothpaste (like desensitising toothpaste) or gels designed for sensitive teeth. These can help shield the exposed dentin until the nerve endings calm down.

3. Increased Risk Of Tooth Decay

The margins, or edges, where the veneer meets the underlying tooth are susceptible to chipping or minor fractures over time. These areas can become entry points for bacteria, plaque and tartar buildup, increasing the risk of decay under the veneer and potentially damaged or weakened teeth.

Maintaining good dental hygiene practices is crucial to prevent decay under veneers.

FAQ: Do teeth rot under veneers?

No, your teeth won’t necessarily rot under veneers. However, good oral hygiene is essential to prevent decay around the veneer margins.

Proper application also plays a significant role in preventing decay, so it’s crucial to choose a qualified and skilled dentist (or cosmetic dentist) for veneer application.

4. Potential For Veneer Chipping Or Loosening

Frontal macro shot of human teeth.

Veneers are durable but can chip or loosen due to damage or excessive force from daily biting and chewing.

If a veneer does chip, it can often be repaired by a dentist (bonded back in place). However, if the damage is significant, replacement may be necessary to maintain oral aesthetics and function.

It’s vital to avoid bad habits like nail biting and opening objects with your teeth that can cause damage.

5. Underlying Tooth Issues

It’s essential to note that veneers are a cosmetic treatment and do not address underlying tooth problems such as major cracks, fractures, or severe misalignments.

While veneers are a long-term solution and can treat tooth imperfections, severe conditions can worsen under veneers. They may require more extensive and possibly invasive dental treatment, like a root canal or dental implant.

This is because veneers only cover the front surface of teeth and do not address underlying structural issues.

Care Tips For Teeth With Veneers

Close-up view of dentist's hand in green gloves holding tooth model, explaining brushing technique to a female patient.

Protecting your investment in veneers involves adopting good dental care practices:

🦷Brush twice a day (or as needed) and floss regularly to remove food debris and plaque. This helps prevent cavities and gum disease.

🦷Use a soft-bristled toothbrush, non-abrasive toothpaste, and antiseptic mouthwash to help maintain the integrity of your veneers and prevent damage to their surface.

🦷Reduce consumption of hard, crunchy foods to prevent chipping.

🦷Limit intake of staining foods and drinks to minimise discolouration. Using a straw can reduce contact between beverages and your teeth, including veneers.

🦷Refrain from biting hard objects or using teeth as tools to prevent damage to veneer and natural teeth.

🦷Invest in a mouth guard if you have an oral habit of grinding your teeth, whether naturally or through bruxism, or participate in contact sports to protect your veneers.

🦷Visit your dentist regularly for professional cleaning, touch-ups, and dental checkups to ensure your veneers and underlying teeth remain in top shape.

Conclusion

The decision to get dental veneers should be made with a full understanding of their long-term effects. While veneers can provide a significant aesthetic enhancement and even offer some protection to damaged teeth, they also bring changes to your tooth structure and require consistent oral hygiene to maintain. By keeping up with oral care and dental visits, you can ensure that your veneers remain an asset rather than a liability for your dental health.

If you have any concerns about your existing veneers or if you’re considering veneers as a solution for your dental needs, schedule a visit with your dentist. It’s all part of maintaining a healthy smile that lasts a lifetime.

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